The raw milk comes from cows which graze on the natural pastures of the Vaudois Alps and alpine foothills. It is these pastures, rich in wild flowers that create the aroma and provide the unique flavour of L’Etivaz AOP.
The milk from the evening milking is stocked in churns until the following morning, when the cheesemaker skims off the cream with a ladle. The evening milk and morning milk are then poured into the copper cauldron.
The milk, enriched with lactic bacteria obtained from the production centre itself, is gently heated to 32°C over a wood fire. The cheesemaker then adds the rennet, which consists of natural enzymes extracted exclusively from the abomasum of young calves. After stirring the milk for a few minutes the cheesemaker stops the mixer and allows the milk to rest so that it can curdle.
When the milk has curdled, the cheesemaker cuts the curdled mass into ever smaller grains, using a cheese harp. This delicate operation requires a lot of know-how on his part.
This mixture of curds and whey, sometimes as much as 1,000 litres at a time, is heated to around 57°C over the fire, under constant stirring. The cauldron is then swung away from the fire on the suspension arm.
The cheesemaker stretches a cheesecloth on a rod, slides it under the curds and lifts out the cheese mass which he then puts into a mould and presses. The wheel of cheese thus formed must subsequently be turned over several times. The producer then puts the L’Etivaz AOP casein mark on it as well as his initials in order to be able to guarantee traceability. The wheels remain in the press until the following morning.
Weighing between 15 and 38 kg, the wheels are rubbed with cheese dairy salt and kept at the alpine production centre for a maximum of 7 days.